In just the last several days, dozens of police officers, prosecutors, and other law enforcement officials have joined forces to endorse California’s Prop 19 to legalize marijuana. Led by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, the mostly former officials say that marijuana prohibition only fuels more dangerous crime by enriching Mexican drug cartels who put guns on American streets.

“I was with the LAPD when Nixon declared the ‘war on drugs’ over 40 years ago and was one of the ‘generals’ on the front lines who helped implement that same failed drug policy that is still in effect today,” said Stephen Downing, a retired LAPD deputy chief of police.

“By keeping marijuana illegal, we aren’t preventing anyone from using it,” he continued. “The only results are billions of tax-free dollars being funneled into the pockets of bloodthirsty drug cartels and gangs who control the illegal market.”

Stephen Downing, the former deputy chief of police for LAPD, spoke in favor of Proposition 19 on MSNBC on Monday, comparing the end of alcohol prohibition and the decline of organized crime to what will happen to the drug cartels if Prop 19 passes. Said Downing of legalization: “Proposition 19 is smart law enforcement, period.”

Downings’ opponent, former small-town police chief Richard Weinblatt, had no argument but to say that marijuana legalization is a “slippery slope” to legalizing all drugs, which is just flat-out ridiculous and hardly a convincing argument to vote against shutting down Mexico’s drug cartels, helping law enforcement, and stopping the incarceration of millions of people every year.

The media agrees: this week’s roll-out of law enforcement for legalization got the attention of NY Times, LA Times, AP, and hundreds of local papers. Check out LEAPs roundup of the coverage.